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What is Urinary Diversion?

Female Urinary Tract
Female Urinary Tract
Medical Illustration Copyright © 2015 Nucleus Medical Media, All rights reserved

Male Urinary Tract
Male Urinary Tract
Medical Illustration Copyright © 2015 Nucleus Medical Media, All rights reserved

You don't need to have a bladder to live, but you do need to keep up a normal flow of urine from the body. If for some reason there is a problem with your urinary system, there are ways to change your "plumbing."

What Happens under Normal Conditions?

The urinary tract is like a plumbing system, with special ‘pipes' that allow water and salts to flow through them. The urinary tract is made up of 2 kidneys, 2 ureters, the bladder, and the urethra.

The kidneys act as a filter for the blood. They remove toxins and keep the useful sugar, salts, and minerals. Urine, the waste product, is made in the kidneys and flows down 2, 10 to 12-inch-long tubes called ureters into the bladder. The ureters are about a quarter inch wide and have muscled walls which push the urine into the bladder. The bladder can swell to store the urine until you are ready to drain it by peeing. It also closes the pathways into the ureters so urine can't flow back into the kidneys. The tube that carries the urine from the bladder out of the body is called the urethra.

What is Urinary Diversion?

Urinary diversion is when the normal structures are bypassed and an opening is made in the urinary system to bring the urine out another way. This might need to be done if your bladder stops working the right way or needs to be removed because of cancer or an injury. The flow of urine is diverted to a replacement bladder ("neobladder") or through an opening in the abdominal wall (called a "stoma").